Reminiscing in memories of old and spreading holiday cheer, 23 All Seniors Care retirement residences across the country will be sending out Christmas care packages that bring the holidays and a bit of Canada all in one box to deployed troops.
Residents of the retirement residence have the creative licence to make their Christmas care packages unique and special. Each box typically includes a game like a crossword, word search or playing cards; treats both savory and sweet, a huge hit often being beef jerky and granola bars; a blank Christmas card made by residents for the CAF member to send home; essentials such as socks and gloves.
The residents also try to package a little bit of home to send to troops by packing something made of maple, Cadbury bars and Hawkins Cheezies. They send the holiday season to troops through Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper.
“To complete the package each box includes a holiday card from the residence and copious amounts of respect, love, honour, care and prayers,” said Ronna Goldberg National Event Planner for All Seniors Care.
Because the boxes are each unique, Goldberg says troops can share and trade items.
Many of the residents living at All Seniors Care homes are veterans.
These veterans find the experience of sending packages special, bringing back memories.
“We all feel honoured. Many veterans have shared their memories of receiving mail as a deployed soldier and know first-hand how valuable this initiative is,” said Goldberg.
The residents participate in many other initiatives throughout the year, besides sending morale mail, to honour CAF members. These events include Valentines for Vets, supplying hand-painted walking canes for veterans, honouring CAF personnel at the opening ceremonies of the All Seniors Care Senior Games. All Seniors Care also created “Operation Appreciation” where they adopted the group of deployed Proteus personnel.
Some of the All Seniors Care staff also have a special connection with the military including Executive Director at the Château Symmes Retirement Residence, Marie-Andree Malette. Malette is the spouse of a veteran and sits on an advisory committee to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. She also co-founded the Caregivers Brigade.
“As the wife of a Veteran from the Royal 22 regiment, I am very proud of all of the work All Seniors Care does, especially the work we do with the CAF Active personnel and the Veterans. To create more awareness in our residences to remember everybody deployed, we celebrate RED Fridays. Stop by for a visit on a Friday, wear red, and you will feel right at home,” said Malette.
Last year, All Seniors Care sent out 656 Christmas care packages and Christmas cards.
“We want our Canadian Armed Forces personnel to feel valued, appreciated and remembered…The recipients were very grateful to have received these small comforts and reminders of home while serving our nation, far from friends and families,” said Goldberg.